Sometimes the lines and squares of life are altered. Mother Nature takes over and tells us, in her own subtle way, that we are insignificant. We are wise if we turn away from the highway's center line and become mindful of the line of the sun's shadow in the forest, the twirl of the birdfeeder in the breeze, the maze of branches clicking against the sky. We can moan about this season ... or we can marvel at its beauty and power. Sometimes it's a good thing to realize there are powers well beyond our petty claim.
Because everyone needs a soup that will warm the cockles of the heart after braving a cold blustery day or dark rainy night - because there are never enough chicken soup recipes - because I had a bag of frozen chicken meat in my freezer and various cans of stuff in my pantry - because Silent Bob was on the roof shoveling a whole lotta snow off the dormers - because it was comin' on lunchtime - just because.
Chipotle Chicken Soup with Butter Beans
1 large onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small sweet red pepper, small dice
1/2 small can chipotle peppers and their sauce
3 c. cooked chicken meat, bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. hot chili sauce or Tabasco sauce
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
6 c. chicken stock
1 bottle pale ale or lager beer
salt and pepper, to taste
Making the Soup:
1. Sauté the onions and garlic in the bottom of a stock pot with the olive oil.
2. When the garlic begins to brown a bit, add the sweet red pepper and continue sauté for a minute or two.
3. Add the chipotle peppers and their sauce, chicken, and fresh herbs and spices, stirring to coat the chicken with the juices.
4. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and butter beans and bring the soup to a simmer.
5. When the potatoes are tender, pour in the beer and stir to incorporate everything.
6. Cover, turn off the heat and let the soup's ingredients meld for a while.
7. Gently re-heat and serve with tortilla chips and any garnishes you prefer (sour cream, avocado bits, chopped chilled tomatoes, black olives, Manchego cheese bits).
Note: There is a whole lotta spicy heat in chipotle chilis and in the hot chili sauce that goes into this soup, so plan accordingly. You can always add more, but ... just sayin'. Enjoy and keep warm and safe!